U.S. President Barack Obama was expected Monday to reveal $240 million in private-sector projects that aim to inspire kids to study science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM. With this, the White House said in a news release, STEM programs will have seen $1 billion in financial and in-kind support.
Among the announcements are $150 million to encourage young scientists "to stay on track," $90 million for a "Let Everyone Dream" campaign for underrepresented students and $25 million for an education department grant competition around science and literacy media, according to the Associated Press. The Change the Equation group of CEOs promised to expand STEM programs to 1.5 million extra students, and about 120 colleges said they'd train 20,000 engineers.
Some of the more specific initiatives include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Simons Foundation's plans to launch a faculty scholars program. Under the "Let Everyone Dream" umbrella, the Mexican multimedia company Televisa is expected to create a TV campaign to showcase more Latinas in STEM fields. The City University of New York plans to support internship programs for first-generation STEM students, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pledged to raise its financial aid awards by $8.4 million.
Obama was due to make the announcement at the 2015 White House Science Fair, which recognizes STEM achievements by students from diverse demographics. This year's event featured girls in science. Thirty-five teams of students had the chance to show off their science fair projects -- a dozen of which Obama was expected to view. "I love this event," the president told NBC News last year. "This is one of my favorite things all year long."
The 2015 science fair projects included an expanding spinal implant, a battery-powered page turner made from Legos, a wearable monitor for people with Alzheimer's disease, a solar-powered radiation system and a 3D-printed arm for wheelchairs.